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5 week old chicks with odd gait

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

I bought 3 SLW chicks 5 weeks ago and for the first 2 weeks everything was fantastic, cute little fuzzy babies. Then the unthinkable happened, their brooder lamp died in the night and when I found them the next morning they were unresponsive but still alive. It happened to be a Sunday so finding a store that was open was difficult but I did find one and bought a new lamp, got them all warmed up and everything seemed fine for a day or two. I noticed that the one chick that was usually the bravest, most curious was no longer doing her normal things, she was just lying there and wouldn't come to sit on my lap like before, I thought she was just mad at me lol o.O but over the next few days the other chicks followed suit, they became lethargic and unwilling to come play with me. Then I started to see they were all walking rather stiffly. As time has gone on they are less and less active, only walking around when they want to eat and drink and the stiff gait is more pronounced in all of them. Today I noticed that one of them is not only walking stiffly but also with her legs spread a little wider than normal when walking or running. Yes, they can walk and run but don't seem to want to. They do eat and drink normally, their poo is totally normal also. Another note: When they lay down they do so with their wings away from their bodies as if they are trying to stay balanced. They do not "wobble" per se, they walk and run in a straight, steady fashion (aside from the stiff gait), they only seem a bit wobbly when they lay down and use their wings for stability. This seems progressive and all 3 chicks are affected. I have been researching for hours and can find no disease or anything that fits. It doesn't appear to be Marek's because there is no diarrhea, it's not splayed leg, there is no curling toes, their hocks and tendons appear fine. I'm just at a loss. 

Has anyone ever heard/seen anything like this? They also seem like they are not growing, the feather growth or fuzz replacement (whatever you call it when they get feathers to replace their fuzz) has also stopped.  This problem affects both legs on all of the chicks. They eat medicated chick starter and have fresh water available at all times. They have a large brooder (would be comfortable for 6 or 8 chicks) with a heat lamp on one end so that they can choose to be where they are comfortable. 

 

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance

post #2 of 9
If they became cold enough to become unresponsive, I suppose they could have suffered some brain damage that has caused neurological symptoms, especially if it all started at the same time. Sorry about your chicks. I would give them vitamins for chicks in their water, and add probiotics or yogurt if their feed or vitamins do not contain any. Was the new brooder lamp especially for chicks? Some lamps that have a Teflon coating can give off toxic gases apparently, and there have been a couple of cases where chicks have died due to that. Sorry for your loss.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggcessive View Post

If they became cold enough to become unresponsive, I suppose they could have suffered some brain damage that has caused neurological symptoms, especially if it all started at the same time. Sorry about your chicks. I would give them vitamins for chicks in their water, and add probiotics or yogurt if their feed or vitamins do not contain any. Was the new brooder lamp especially for chicks? Some lamps that have a Teflon coating can give off toxic gases apparently, and there have been a couple of cases where chicks have died due to that. Sorry for your loss.

 

Eggcessive: 

 

Thank you for your answer, I wondered about brain damage also. I will do what you suggested with the vitamins and probiotics immediately. As for the lamp, the bulb itself was not affected, it was the socket that died, the bulb is one I have used with other chicks and for supplemental heat during the coldest nights in the big girl's coop so I don't imagine it is an issue, as well as I also have a couple of ducklings in the same brooder who were unaffected. (they didn't even seem to mind the cold). 

post #4 of 9
Let us know how they get along. I hope they start improving soon.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you, I do too. 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

* UPDATE:*

The chicks are now 6 weeks old, all 3 are still alive but one of them is deteriorating, I'm a little scared she may not make it. She now keeps her head down at all times and her tail is still down, she will get up and move if she has to but otherwise just sits under the heat lamp, she seems cold all of the time. She sleeps with her forehead (comb area, that would be forehead  for a SLW, right? ) on the ground and has no balance. The others trample her and push her out of the way (not mean, just more like "move it you lump!" kind of thing). The other 2 are improving nicely, one of them is pretty much back to normal, she has been running and flapping her wings, her tail is up, she eats and drinks and chirps and behaves normally. The second one is still walking stiffly and has occasional moments of balance issues but she is getting better little by little. I tried to give them electrolytes in their water according to package directions but they wouldn't have it. I also tried a little plain yogurt, also wanted nothing to do with it.  They are still behind schedule on feathering and are quite small for their age but the 2 that are getting better seem to have a bit less fuzz than they did 2 days ago. I also have 2 ducklings that are 2 weeks younger than these chicks and they are now about 4 times the size of the chicks lol. I realize ducklings are usually bigger than chicks anyway but this is HUGE size difference. There is no coughing or sneezing or wheezing or anything out of any of them, never has been. I'm still trying to figure out what happened to them for sure and maybe if I can do that then I can help the one that is still doing poorly. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear it.

Thank you!

post #7 of 9

Good to hear that 2 out the 3 are making progress. Whenever I have tried to give my chickens a little yogurt, I have to mix it with water and their feed into a thin oatmeal consistency. Not one refuses it. You can hide a raw egg or just about anything in there, LOL, and they eat it up.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

My older hens (my 2 yrs olds) LOVE yogurt, they make such a mess trying to be the one that gets the most lol. I am just stunned that the babies don't like it but I will definitely try your suggestion, maybe they will eat it if I do.

 

Also, last night I hung a few sprigs of basil in the brooder/pen/whatever it is and this morning the one that is deteriorating has come to life. She is up and moving around, still very stiff legged walk and stops to rest often but her head is up and she will shy away and toddle off if something startles her (I accidentally bumped the side of the pen when I bent over to refill their food and she got up and toddled as fast as she could). Basil has many medicinal properties just from the smell, I am hoping that whatever is wrong is being helped by they basil. I am thinking of making them some basil tea (cooled to room temp of course!) and see if they will drink it. It has a pretty strong aroma so I don't know if they will but it's worth a shot.  The one that is in the middle is still walking with her legs too far apart and very stiff but she is moving more and trying to run to keep up with the one that is doing so well. The "good" one is pretty much normal today, you would never know anything was ever wrong with her. I'm so happy that they are improving. I hope it continues. I know sometimes that a "patient" will get better right before they pass away, I hope this is not the case here with that one that is doing poorly. We will see!

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

**UPDATE**

 

2 of the 3 chicks seem to have recovered. Turns out one of them is a rooster. But...I found the 3rd and weakest chick had passed away in the night. I had spent some time cuddling her before bed last night, she was always crying and only stopped when I held her. I thought she was getting better just slower than the others. Since it is not allowed to have roosters in town, I guess I will have no chicks this year, I don't want to separate the rooster from the remaining hen since they are so fond of each other so they will both have to move to the country. 

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